Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2019 2020
Previous Archive
14 May 2019 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Tsepo Moeketsi
Prof Ashafa
Prof Ashafa’s research documents plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments.

The Phytomedicine and Phytopharmacology Research Programme (PPRP) in the Department of Plant Sciences on the Qwaqwa Campus researches the biological effects of medicinal plants used in the folkloric medicine of the Eastern Free State, particularly to explore the values and contribution of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) towards broader scientific research. This is according to the programme’s principal investigator and researcher, NRF C2-rated researcher, Professor Anofi Ashafa. 

 “Our research is mainly aimed at documenting plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments and to further discover, isolate, and purify active phytoconstituents that are responsible for disease curation or amelioration, thereby assisting in the global promotion of accessible and affordable medication in developing countries,” said Prof Ashafa. 

Since 2012, the PPRP has worked extensively on Basotho medicinal plants (BMP) used as antimicrobials, antioxidants, antidiabetics, antitubercular, anticancer, anthelmintic, and antidiarrheal agents, starting from biological activities up to the  evaluation of the toxicity of these plants for the kidney, liver, and heart functions in order to establish safe dosage parameters. These activities have led to the discovery of four potent antidiabetic biomolecules that are awaiting the processes of patency and commercialisation. Additional outputs include 104 published peer-reviewed articles , 7 postdoctoral fellows, 6 PhDs, 9 master’s, and 16 honours graduates. 

“Our research informs teaching and the development of expertise in ethnobotany, 
phytomedicine, and phytopharmacology in order to contribute to the National Development Plan (NDP) through human capacity development, skills, and knowledge transfer.

The group is also investigating some medicinal plants on the endangered red list of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), through micropropagation and field trials as well as proposing conservation strategies to preserve these valuable species.

The PPRP consists of postdoctoral fellows, PhD, master’s, and honours students and research is done in collaboration with several local and international universities as well as the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa. 


News Archive

The impact of personal care products on water resources in the Free State
2015-12-14

Jou-an Chen
Photo: Charl Devenish

Water is of the utmost importance in personal hygiene. Most people can hardly have a day go by without taking a shower in the morning and at night. However, it is this very habit that is increasingly polluting the water resources in South Africa.

Contaminants found in pharmaceutical and personal care products have been accumulating in water masses in recent years. These contaminants especially refer to hormones in medication, as well as colouring agents and fragrances used in soap, shampoo and body lotions.

“Little information and data are available on the prevalence of these contaminants, and on how high the level of pollution really is,” says Jou-an Chen, researcher in the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology at the UFS.

Her research particularly focuses on the prevalence and impact of those contaminants.

“Because these substances have not been properly investigated, we are not sure how widely it occurs and whether it is harmful to the environment. It was precisely the lack of information that has inspired me to investigate further.”

“If we could identify the contaminants and what it is doing to the environment, it could make a valuable contribution to directives on water quality standards.”


We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept